Viola, Voodoo and Victory

I’ve spent the last few days in Austin Texas – enjoying friends, live music, great food (including Voodoo donuts) and the Texas Women’s Conference. To top that off, I’m lucky to be traveling with one of my BFF’s and we brought our 25 year old daughter’s along for the experience.
While the Voodoo donuts and Texas BBQ were certainly a highlight, the learning and sharing at the Texas Women’s Conference – and then the conversations following – has been the greatest joy.

There were many impactful speakers at the conference, but a few who made a lasting impression. Viola Davis was my favorite. She took the stage and began to share her story. Her first remarks were a tweetable – “You don’t have to get it together to show up.” She was referring to the self-doubt she had experienced while getting dressed that morning – the little voice saying “is there too much cleavage, does this look good”, etc etc. You don’t need to be perfect to show up for your life – and this is a lesson for all of us. Life is messy. We all have skeletons in the closet – failures, setbacks and challenges. But if you don’t show up, own it, face it and work through it, how will you move on to the next greatest thing? You gotta do the work.

Her closing remark…. “The privilege of a lifetime is to be who you are.” Are you being who you are? Are you showing up as the real you? Will the real (insert your name here) please stand up. I am doing this more then ever and it feels so good. Stop pretending to be someone or something you aren’t. It’s ok if not everyone likes you. There are plenty that do. (Stay tuned for my whole new YES I CAN brand launch in January. Talk about showing up as the real me!)

Sheryl Sandberg was the other lunchtime keynote – a woman who “leaned in” and found herself facing “option b”. She spoke about losing her husband, becoming a single mom, facing the challenges of grief and rediscovering joy. I shed a few tears during her talk – but it was incredibly inspiring. Even the COO of Facebook can be vulnerable. One of her tools? Writing down her 3 moments of joy every night before going to sleep. And looking at the “worst case”.  For example, her close friend and co-author of Option B, Adam Grant, commented after the loss of her husband, “It could have been worse.” Can you imagine her response? How could there be anything worse than losing the love of her life unexpectedly to a heart-attack? “He could have had it in the car while driving the kids.” You could have heard a pin drop as we all processed that. Even in tragedy, there is a glimpse of gratitude. My takeaway… Gratitude is the glue that will hold you together.

Dr Anita Hill was another powerful keynote – sharing about her experience and encouraging everyone in the audience to draw on their most courageous self and speak their truth.  And a breakout speaker who reminded us all that failure is necessary.

So the title of the blog post… Viola is Viola Davis. Voodoo is the donuts. And Victory? Victory is the attitude I encourage you to embody as you face life on a daily basis. Quit holding on to your excuses and complaints. Quit hiding because of the fear of being seen as you really are. Be you in all your glory. Quit being the victim of your life – and instead become the Victor! Celebrate the victory of life by playing all in and living full out!

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